Porter: Loss at DC a case of coulda, woulda, shoulda for Portland Timbers

WASHINGTON—“Could’ve, should’ve, would’ve.”

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter struggled to dissect his club’s performance as he met the media after his side’s disappointing 2-0 loss at the hands of D.C. United on Saturday evening.

The Timbers should’ve equalized after D.C.'s opener, a Steve Birnbaum strike off a set piece just seven minutes in, Porter lamented. They could’ve made things interesting with an equalizer – or even a late goal after United pulled ahead 2-0 some 20 minutes later. A result at RFK, where Porter suggested the Timbers felt they could steal a win, would’ve made things a bit easier to swallow.

Instead, Portland struggled to finish early and wilted in the intense D.C. heat, remaining just a hair above the red line in an ever-tightening Western Conference. Up next: back-to-back meetings with archrivals Seattle, just as the Sounders seem to finally be rounding into form.

“Disappointing result,” Porter told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “We felt this was a game where we could get three points in – no disrespect to DC, we thought if we played the way we’re capable of playing, this was a winnable game.

Even with the kickoff delayed an hour due to heat, gametime temperatures hovered near 90 degrees, with stifling humidity that drove the heat index above 100. Though both teams struggled, Portland seemed to suffer a bit more, especially after giving up a pair of early goals.

“Obviously we knew the conditions would be difficult. I thought we compounded the conditions by giving up a goal seven minutes in,” said Porter. “First chance they get, set piece – an exact play we ran through on video, so it’s obviously a mistake. I thought we should’ve leveled it 1-1 when we hit the crossbar on a breakaway with Jack [McInerney]. If we score that, momentum swings – but we didn’t score.

“It’s not any one area, it’s the team,” he continued. “We didn’t score, we weren’t good enough in the attack. We had some chances, made some mistakes defensively, which led to us giving up two goals. On that side of things, it wasn’t enough. I’m going to reflect on this myself, because I might’ve gotten a wrong tactic to start the game.

“Could’ve, should’ve, would’ve. We fell short today.”